TWIF: Vol. 27

Jan 28, 2016
This Week in Feminism


1. Justin Trudeau Strikes Again.

OK, so we’ve written about this dude like multiple times already, highlighting his practices of tolerance and gender parity within government (and next time, we’re just gonna get it together and ask him out already), but this one is too good to pass up. Justin Trudeau--new Prime Minister of Canada and blue-eyed social justice sorcerer who has cast his love spell upon feminists worldwide--encouraged world leaders to “embrace feminism” as a way of improving decision-making at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. He spoke about the importance of men engaging other men and boys in the feminist fight, and specifically mentioned how his wife (also an incredible human) has pushed him to sow feminist seeds within his sons just as much as he has already with his daughter. Seated next to familiar faces like Sheryl Sandberg’s, Trudeau made it clear that the future of progressive and worthwhile politics is dependent on feminist values and teachings. Amen.



2. Kabul to Open First Women's University.

Even though this teeeechnically happened “last” “week,” we didn’t hear about it until this week (our bad), and we thought news of Kabul’s first university specifically for women was just too important to skip. So, yes: Afghani officials have laid out plans to build Mawlana Afghan-Turk University for women, on a large plot in Kabul. Though western media outlets are quick to point out how the Taliban has targeted women and girls seeking education in the past (a legitimate concern, but ultimately one that plays into Islamophobia), the university has support from some of the nation’s strongest; including Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani, Nasrin Oryakhil of Afghanistan’s Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, and Higher Education Minister Farida Mohmand. Hardly anything is more exciting than news of badass ladies paving the way for the badass ladies of the future! Did someone say… Girl Effect?




3. International Olympic Committee Ends Surgery Mandate for Trans Athletes.

It’s kinda funny how the Olympics--with roots that date back millennia--has become one of the more modern and forward-thinking institutions on the issue of transgender equality. Ah, sweet feminist irony, how we love thee! But for real, the medical officials at the International Olympic Committee announced this week that they will be ending the mandate of gender reassignment surgery and legal gender recognition for trans athletes wishing to compete in the Olympics. According to their announcement this week, trans men (female to male transitions) will be able to compete with no restrictions, while trans women (male to female transitions) will still need to undergo at least one year of hormonal therapy before competing. This news has us all giddy and even more excited for Rio; read more here




4. Rapist and Former OK City Cop to Serve 263 Years.

This week, we finally saw the appalling Daniel Holtzclaw case come to a close, culminating with a 263 year-long jail sentence for the former Oklahoma police officer. Holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 criminal charges, including first- and second-degree rape, sexual battery, and other forms of abhorrent sexual abuse--almost all committed against black women in a poor neighborhood in Oklahoma City. When we covered this story last year, there was considerable talk about the racialized nature of his abuse, mixed with some worries that he wouldn’t face the punishment he deserves for such crimes. It is with heavy hearts that we breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing the verdict and the sentence, and embrace a renewed energy to ensure the safety and care of the survivors of his attacks.



5. Oxford University Press Positively Rabid With Flippancy.

Life may be like a box of chocolates, but when you illustrate the adjective “rabid” with the term “feminist” in the Oxford Dictionary, you know exactly whatcha gonna get. This week, dictionary-prowling feminists showed the Oxford group just how rabid we can be after Canadian anthropologist Michael Oman-Reagan discovered a bunch of stereotypically gendered example sentences provided to demonstrate the uses of words like “rabid,” “shrill,” “grating,” “nagging,” “housework,” and “nurse.” Many English speakers who rely on the Oxford Dictionary as a source of knowledge and higher learning are frustrated to see the trusted word-authority accepting lazy, offensive tropes--such as women’s voices being shrill, grating, and nagging; ‘women’s work’ limited to housework and nursing; women’s political interests inherently being rabid and extreme, even crazy--and have called upon the Oxford University Press (OUP) to up its feminist game by fixing their faults. At first, Oxford replied with “flippant” tweets (their words, TBH) which only led to more upset--and then finally a #basic apology. There should be a pic of the OUP next to the dictionary definition of “passive aggressive.”

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